What is The Earthworm?

The Earthworm is a newsletter written for a curious community of likeminded gardeners, plant lovers and nature nerds. Twice each week, readers receive a magical mixture of interesting, intriguing, insightful or downright inspirational content from the wide world of greenery and growing, straight to their most intimate of personal spaces: their inbox.

The content of each newsletter will be varied in format. You can expect interviews with some of the most influential, exciting and occasionally eccentric people in the world of horticulture; essays and musings; recommendations and reviews; diverting audio clips; and yes, on occasion, even some actually useful, actionable advice.

Why does The Earthworm exist?

I don’t know about you, but I feel underserved by traditional gardening media. Don’t get me wrong, I eagerly await each new episode of Gardener’s World and hang on Monty Don’s every softly spoken word. I have admired every transformation performed by Titchmarsh, Dimmock, the Rich bros et al. I enviously pore over the tasteful and meticulously managed gardens on the pages of any green-themed magazine going; I read all the books, listen to all the podcasts, follow all the social media accounts. And yet.

I am a gardener, yes, but my interest in this fascinating and diverse field extends way beyond my teeny back yard. Sure I want to know the best time to prune a rambling rose, or transplant tomato seedlings, or learn about the five best dahlias to brighten up a small urban garden. For the enthusiastic gardener, there is always so much more to learn.

But I also want to read about all the other stuff. The real-life successes and – far more often than not – failures of an amateur plant obsessive. The history. The botany. The controversy. The agenda-setting personalities and the alternative perspectives. The guerrilla gardeners and fungi foragers and rewilders and conservationists and allotmenteers and volunteers and hover flys and humanure (people poop for plants!). I want to read about the weird and wonderful, bizarre and beautiful, rich and rewarding world of soil, and all the life that calls it home. That is why The Earthworm exists.

The Earthworm is not a how-to guide (though you will pick up tidbits of wisdom that you can use in your own horticultural endeavours, however show-garden or houseplant-humble they may be). The Earthworm is a celebration of plants and the natural world, and a welcoming community for anyone who digs that.

Who is The Earthworm?

The Earthworm is brought to you by me: Daniel Masoliver, a freelance journalist, ghostwriter and, when inspiration strikes, a children’s picture book author. Formerly deputy editor at ShortList magazine, my writing career has allowed me to cover all sorts of interesting and sometimes surreal stories, from investigating the sorry state of mental health provision in schools through to interviewing the likes of Louis Theroux, Viggo Mortensen and Riz Ahmed. I spoke to Che Guevara’s little brother about growing up with an icon, joined the hunt for the Croydon Cat Killer, and even wrestled Hulk Hogan. (Not literally. Well, sort of. It’s complicated.)

I am also a passionate, obsessive, and yet somehow entirely inadequate gardener. My own East London garden is small. As in, actually small, not gardening magazine small. I reckon you could just about swing a cat without ruffling its whiskers or knocking over an inexpertly erected runner bean teepee. It is a mere five strides from my kitchen door to the back fence and, beyond that, the gargantuan plastic monstrosity that is our rear neighbour’s ever-expanding shed collection.

But I am grateful for the space that I do have, and am trying really really hard to make it as productive and beautiful and not-carpeted-in-creeping-buttercup as possible. To this end, I have completed one horticultural qualification and am in the process of studying for another.

When it comes to gardening and greenery, I don’t claim to have any more expertise than you. What I do have is a desire to share my own trials and tribulations in an honest and unfiltered way, as well as utilise my experience as a journalist and interviewer to bring you information and inspiration from the people who really know their stuff.

Why is it called The Earthworm?

The Earthworm’s title is a homage to the not so much unsung, but definitely undersung heroes of horticulture. Earthworms are the great cultivators of the soil, aerators of the earth, and excretors of nutritious and delicious goodness (if you’re a plant, that is).

Charles Darwin, who knew a thing or two about life on Earth, had this to say about worms: “It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organised creatures.” For what it’s worth, I tend to agree.

But to me, The Earthworm also evokes a visceral feeling from my earliest, happiest memories in the garden; all grass-stained knees and muddy fingernails, watching a bee going about its business, “encouraging” woodlice to curl up into squidgy grey marbles, and feeling the slippery skin of a garden worm slink through my hands as it seeks the safe embrace of the soil below.

Book worms are people whose heads are ever buried in a book. Well then, we are earthworms.

Why should I subscribe to The Earthworm?

If you have previously enjoyed reading The Earthworm, or think that you might in future, then subscribing is simply the best way to guarantee that you don’t miss out on the next lovingly crafted instalment.

Every edition of The Earthworm is free… for now! I want to be as upfront and honest about this as you deserve: I fully intend, at some stage down the line, once The Earthworm has found its groove, to open up paid subscriptions.

However, at least one newsletter every week will always always always be free for everyone. The paid-for stuff will be the cute extras, the bonus content, the backstage pass, if you will.

The fact is, people these days expect to consume their content for free. And, I admit, I include myself in that category. However, this expectation is responsible for the closure of magazines and newspapers at an alarming rate, is costing writers their incomes, and is leading to an advertising-funded race for the bottom in terms of quality, utility and trustworthiness.

I believe in thoroughly researched, carefully considered, well written content, and I believe that this content has a value, both intrinsic and monetary. If you agree, then when the time comes, I will kindly ask that you support the ongoing production of this newsletter for the benefit of you, me, and the entire Earthworm community. You will earn my eternal gratitude for so doing.

So, subscribe now! Tell your friends! Get in touch! And most of all, enjoy The Earthworm! Thanks for reading.

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Dan Masoliver
Dan Masoliver is a writer from London, UK